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Waseda Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies Seminar Series

“COVID-19, Stigma and Discrimination as Layers of Borders: Policies Towards Migrant Workers and Their Experiences during COVID-19 in East and Southeast Asia”

Date and venue: 3rd December, 2020 (Thursday) at 19:00-20:30 (JST) / Online (Zoom) ​ Speaker: ​ Daniel Awigra (Project Leader) is a human rights activist and the Deputy Director of Human Rights Working Group in Indonesia. He recently led multi-stake- holders’ policy dialogues on the ASEAN Consensus on the protection of migrant workers’ rights in ASEAN member states. He has served as the International Advocacy Presidium of Jaringan Buruh Migran (Migrant Workers Network) since 2015. He co-founded Journalist Association for Diversity (SEJUK) in 2008. He holds an MSc in International Relations from the University of Indonesia. ​ Mariko Hayashi (Research Coordinator) is an independent researcher on migration and human rights and a Director of Southeast and East Asian Centre CIC based in London, where she currently leads projects addressing impact of COVID-19 outbreak on vulnerable/marginalised members of Southeast and East Asian migrant communities. She previously served as a Program Officer of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, specialising in Asia-Pacific region. She holds an MSc in Global Migration from UCL, University of London. ​ Moderator: ​ Jotaro Kato, Research Associate at Institute of Asian Migrations and member of the research project.

Project outline:

This joint research project looks at situations of migrant workers in their major destinations in East and Southeast Asia, namely Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan. Joined by scholars and experts of civil society organisations working on the frontline to address the challenges faced by migrant workers, this study aims to 1) assess the impact of pre-existing migration policies and COVID-19 public health measures, often based on strong national interests, on migrant workers, 2) explore how vulnerabilities translate to real-life experiences of migrant workers, and 3) how state and non- state actors, including businesses and civil society, are dealing with challenges faced by migrant workers. This research is also aimed at amplifying voices of those who are affected and bringing them to the multi-stakeholders at the national and regional levels. Will this global pandemic bring a change towards an inclusive governance of migrant workers? The findings suggest that COVID-19 creates additional layers of borders around migrant workers. This research is part of an initiative of civil society actors in both East and Southeast Asia to work collaboratively to address issues faced by an increasing number of migrants moving cross-regionally.

This project is implemented by Human Rights Working Group and supported by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.

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